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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

WILLIAM  VON  HXJMBOUDT.
CHAPTER VIII.
HinsCBOLDT left Berlin in the beginning of September,,
and on the way spent two days at Togulitz., with Gentz^
who occupied an important position in the Austrian
cabinet. He arrived in Vienna in the middle of
October, and had an audience of the emperor, in which
he presented his credentials, on the 3rd of November.
Metternich had been placed at the head of the mi-
nistry for foreign affairs after the last peace. He there
developed that snakelike cunning which so soon helped
to effect Napoleon's ruin, and which, at least as re-
gards this western enemy, has been of such advantage
to Austria. These were the first years of this cele-
brated statesman's activity, which were evidently the
most important in his life, and in which he showed
talents which even his bitterest enemies cannot deny.
Metternich was clever enough to esteem a William
von Humboldt, and although their views and opinions
in general were diametrically opposed, they were out-
weighed by the immediate objects of the day. If to
this is added the charm of finding a worthy opponent,
the importance they had for each other and their
present intentions, it can be easily understood^ that
personally a very good understanding reigned between
them. An evidence of this is given in a letter written
by Gentz at this period, in which he says, that in the
evening he is never disengaged, because his ebiei^
Metternich, is a great nlghthird, and does not dismiss
those who are with him in. the evening until one or
two o'clock ; that he had been obliged to roam about